Traveling is awesome. It’s fun, it’s daring and totally good for you. But have you ever thought about why exactly that is?
Whether you’re going to a neighboring state or halfway around the world, here are some of the ways taking a trip will help you become a better person in the long run.
1. Knowledge & Discovery
This may seem “rude” to say, but you can really tell when someone has traveled extensively in their life and when they have not. People who travel have been exposed to the world and people who live differently from themselves. Traveling gives you a sense of open-mindedness and gives you knowledge about cultures and people coming from all walks of life – making you compassionate and empathetic. Travel really is the gift that keeps on giving, because the more you discover, the more you want to know. There’s literally an abundance of knowledge out there!
2. [Self] Awareness
Hand in hand with knowledge and discovery, awareness comes along with it. This not only means awareness and understanding of others, but also self awareness. Traveling – especially alone – gives you time to reflect on your thoughts, routines and potential characteristics you would like to improve upon. For example, the first time I traveled alone, I was really scared and I couldn’t pinpoint way. By tuning into my subconscious thoughts, I realized I wasn’t scared of the new country or the people, but mostly of just getting out of my routine and trying things I had never tried before completely on my own – something I would have otherwise been OK with doing when I had someone accompanying me as a sort of “crutch”. The more I traveled alone, the more I came to realize that diving head first into tasks and activities that make you nervous is what makes you strong! You will discover new likes and dislikes, too – giving you a more well-rounded sense of self.
Travel will inspire gratitude within you. Not only will you be gracious about the wonderful opportunity you have been given to see the world – one that not many are afforded – but you will be gracious to everything and everyone around you. When you arrive to your destination you will take in the unknown beauty of discovering something new, and when you arrive home you will see things you once took for granted in a new light.
A vacation is a vacation is a vacation. If you work a 9-5, a trip is a time to unwind and forget about your daily tasks or duties or having someone breathing down your neck. Traveling means doing things your way and to forget about anything that has been bugging you back home. It’s a beautiful feeling. Whether you’re hiking in some remote jungle or sipping a pina colada by the beach, taking the time to reset is crucial in your mental health and well-being.
5. Staying Fit
Ok, this is not always true, but it often is! Traveling can make you super fit if you choose the right kind. Of course, sometimes you just want to bake under the sun by a pool and drink tequila until you pass out (I’ve been there!), but often the most memorable trips are the ones where you’re discovering new cities. You don’t need to climb Kilimanjaro to get a good workout in either. I’m in love with Paris, and do you know why? Every time I go I walk everywhere! My trips to the city of love would typically average at least 10-13 miles on foot daily. No matter where you go, make a concerted effort to skimp on cabs and discover side streets. Just make sure you wear comfy shoes!
6. Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone
So many of us (myself included) are dead set in our routines. Spontaneity is not really in our lives, besides the occasional big purchase item we treat ourselves to. Instead, many choose to live in their separate boxes. Travel not only broadens your horizons but makes you try things you never thought you would. You’ll never try that new group fitness or cooking class, if you don’t push yourself to. That’s why doing so when you’re abroad or away from home and have no other choice is a great place to start.
Hey all you fitness freaks and health nuts out there: It’s OK (more than OK) to indulge and let loose and not perfectly time your meals or burn 650 calories everyday. This all or nothing mentality is something a lot of people get stuck on but consequently burn out from. Traveling is a great way to reset the mind and let loose. This is perfectly healthy. I’m not saying to go AWOL, but picking up a croissant for breakfast in Paris is 100% acceptable, eating cheese is necessary in Italy and grabbing a few beignets when you visit New Orleans is cool, too! Traveling will help you indulge consciously and create balance in your life.
8. Inspiration & Creativity
There’s a reason why many artists and writers are nomadic. By exposing themselves to more, their imagination and creativity exponentially grows. Travel is guaranteed to make you more creative and think “outside the box”. With so many beautiful sights and incredible histories, your imagination will be spiked.
Perhaps one of my favorite ways that travel has changed me and others? How goal-driven it makes us. Of course vacation is all about relaxation and reducing stress, but more so than that it pushes us to work harder and take more leaps of faith. It may push you to work harder to save up for that awesome trip you have on your bucket list, or to climb the ranks at work so you can make sure you not only are able to travel to new places, but able to do so as often as possible. An “AHA!” moment for me actually happened over this past summer when I started realizing that I was able to afford going away on the weekend and seeing somewhere new or even a favorite of mine regularly. I couldn’t travel far because of work/time constraints, but I spent weekends in Paris, Vermont and Montauk and was able to pay my way through all of these comfortably. My friend noticed and recently told me that I “really inspired her” to start working on building her career so she, too, could experience and travel more often. If you’re having trouble looking for motivation or incentive, travel may just be your best bet.
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What travel benefits have you experienced?
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